Credit Protection Association/mediacom / Wrongful claim
As so many others have written, Mediacom submitted a claim to CPA that I did not return a cable box and so owed money (more than $400.) Mediacom did this even though I returned the box to their local office and they recorded it in their system. So it's either a terrible record system or an attempt to harass me for having switched to DirecTV. This was in 2006. In January 2007, I received a statement from the local Mediacom office saying that I had returned the box and had a $0 balance at the time I returned it. I tried calling CPA but could not get a human. So I included a letter in their payment envelope telling them I did not owe the money. The collection letters continued. I tried calling again. I only could get a machine at CPA and did put my account in the "disputed" status. I included another letter with an account claim, this time stating that another letter from them would be considered harassment and subject to legal action. I called Mediacom yet again and asked for a manager, who then assured me the problem would be rectified and nothing would appear on my credit report. It of course turned out not to be true. Months later I again received a letter from CPA, this time saying I owed just more than $100 (I guess maybe they acknowledge I returned the box, but want me to pay a fee of some sort for their efforts to collect the debt they invented.) And now that I am trying to buy a house I have learned that this collection attempt appears on all of the major credit reports, hurting my score. So now I am again disputing the claim, this time sending documents by certified letter to CPA. We'll see where this gets me.
The question is: How can a company fabricate a debt, harass you with collection attempts, then hurt your credit rating when you fail to pay this nonexistent debt? What gives them the right? Can I do this to people, just start sending them letters saying they owe me money, then submit claims through a collection agency? Seems criminal to me.
I know the person who says he's an ex-CPA employee says to just pay the amount, whether you owe it or now, but I'm sorry. $400, or even the lesser $100, is a lot of money for me. I am divorced and living on a very tight budget. Not to mention that to pay it would be to reward corrupt (or at the very least incredibly incompetent) business practices. It can only serve to encourage Mediacom and other businesses to invent claims and get money for them.
I heard on the radio where some people have had luck telling their stories in online forums, so I am trying this one and will try others. Hopefully someone with a brain at Mediacom will respond.
-- Paul in Fairhope, Ala.